Erick Sánchez moves to América: Aguilas reload ahead of chase for three-peat

Pachuca agrees to sell midfield dynamo, but holding firm on questions about Idrissi
Erick Sánchez (left) will now be playing alongside Diego Valdés (right) in the América midfield after Pachuca agreed to sell the home-grown midfielder to the defending Liga MX champions.
Erick Sánchez (left) will now be playing alongside Diego Valdés (right) in the América midfield after Pachuca agreed to sell the home-grown midfielder to the defending Liga MX champions. / Jam Media/GettyImages

You know how the old saying goes: "If you can't beat 'em ... get them to join your team." Well, that's the spin Club América is putting on the well-known maxim.

Despite marching to a second-straight Liga MX championship, there was one team that gave the Aguilas fit. In five games against Pachuca, the champs failed to defeat the Tuzos even once, stumbling to a 0-3-2 record.

Pachuca handed the Aguilas their first loss of the Clausura 2021 (a 2-1 win at home on Matchday 7), then eliminated them from of the Concacaf Champions Cup at the semifinal stage (following up a 1-1 draw at Estadio Azteca with yet another 2-1 victory at home in the second leg).

The Tuzos then managed two 1-1 draws in the Liga MX quarterfinals, but América survived as the higher seed. The goal that kept the Aguilas alive came in minute 90+4 when Julián Quiñones knocked home a rebound, otherwise Pachuca would have knocked the crown off América's head.

Stripping Pachuca for parts

Aguilas ownership is eager to make a run at a three-peat and the roster juggling began early.

Skipper Henry Martín – the 6th leading scorer in franchise history with 103 goals – signed a contract extension, but the front line was weakened when América was presented with an offer they couldn't refuse from a Saudi club for Quiñones.

Then came deals for goalie Rodolfo Cota and midfielder Iván Rodríguez, both of whom seem destined for back-up roles, quality though they may be. Defender Igor Lichnovsky appears destined to return to Tigres who are unwilling to extend the loan deal that benefited the Aguilas so well.

With rumors that midfield general Álvaro Fidalgo and winger Alejandro Zendejas were pondering offers from European clubs, it was a matter of time before América would act. And so they went knocking on Pachuca's door.

And lo and behold, now Erick Sánchez will be wearing the famed yellow jersey. Sánchez, the midfield bulldog who prowled the middle of the pitch from box-to-box, was fielding offers from European clubs when the Aguilas swooped in with a tempting offer. (Reports indicate América exceeded Sevilla's offer by $4 million dollars.)

Pachuca had long promised Sánchez, 24, that they would facilitate a move to Europe and they publicly insisted they left the decision up to their prized academy alum. As such, there was mild surprise that "Chiquito" would agree to move to América, but there ya go.

Perhaps Sánchez believes he'll get better exposure with the more popular Aguilas squad, then move to Europe next summer, but he'll be 25 by then and that could be a bit late, unless he gets a chance to star with El Tri. But the dynamic midfielder has yet to see action at the Copa América this far.

And Idrissi? ... is he available?

"Los Azulcremas" did not stop there. After being rebuffed by Pachuca in May when they inquired about winger Oussam Idrissi, América has gone back in, presumably with a better offer. The Tuzos had scoffed at the first bid

Idrissi led Liga MX in assists this past season and he would fill in nicely in the spot vacated by Quiñones. With Idrissi on one wing and Javairo Dilrosun on the other, Henry Martín could look forward to a plethora of tasty centering passes to feast on.

However, the latest reports suggest Pachuca has raised its asking price for Idrissi. After the Aguilas balked at the $10 million-dollar price tag back in May, the Tuzos insist that now Idrissi can only be had for $12 million dollars.

Though América might not like the inflated price, the deep-pocketed club has the money to close the deal. And the Aguilas are likely to collect additional funds before the season begins since, in addition to Fidalgo and Zendejas, Uruguay defender Sebastián Cáceres is on the market.


Pachuca is not likely at risk of missing out on a chance to make money, because other teams have expressed interest in the shifty Moroccan winger.